Forming Alliances

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4:34 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Only In Him.” Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (NIV84).

In Context

Paul wrote this to the Corinthian church. In context, he had just talked with them about the fear of the Lord, how Christ had died so we should no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us, and how, in Christ, our old lives of sin are done away with and we are now new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Co. 5), “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24).

He also reminded them that we, who are in Christ, have been reconciled (restored to a right relationship) to God through Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, and thus he urged them to be reconciled to God. Evidently some of them either were not truly in Christ, or else they had wandered away from their pure devotion to the Lord, so he told them they needed to get in harmony with, or they needed to get back into a harmonious relationship with the Lord, not of their own accord, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21).

He also cautioned them against receiving God’s grace in vain (“failing to have or unlikely to have the intended or desired result” – Encarta Dictionary). He was imploring them to change their hearts and minds away from living for self and sin, and to turn their hearts back to obedience to Christ to walk in his holiness. He was strongly encouraging them to be restored in their relationship with God, and to cease living just like the world around them.

What Harmony is There?

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

So, in context, he is not speaking here merely about marriage relationships, though this most certainly applies to marriage relationships, too. He is talking here about all types of relationships, and not just with human beings, either, I believe.

To be “unequally yoked” (KJV) together with someone means: “different kinds of people joined together but unevenly matched; hence ‘unequally yoked’ (not aptly joined).” "’Mismatched’ is used figuratively of Christians wrongly committed to a partner holding very different values (priorities), i.e. that run contrary to faith (the kingdom of God)” - To be yoked together is a “bond or tie that keeps people together,” such as in a marriage or partnership (Encarta).

The whole point of this, I believe, is that we, who are the righteousness of God, have been yoked together with Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, through faith. We are now IN Christ, and Christ is in us. We have been transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin and to God, to walk in the Spirit in his holiness and righteousness. So, we should not unite ourselves in a close bond (relationship) with anyone or anything who or which is contrary to God/Christ, to the teachings of scripture, and to the holiness of God now living within us. What is of God and what is of this world of sin do not mix. They have nothing in common.

Come Out from Them

“Therefore come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.

Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”

So, we are to come out from them and be separate. In fact, holiness means to be set apart (unlike; different) from the world, and to be set apart to God and to his service. And, we are commanded to be holy as God is holy. We are not to love the world or the things in the world. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17 ESV).

Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn. 15:19). So, this begs the question: Does the world love you as its own, or does it hate you? If the world love us as its own, then perhaps we are still of this sinful world. Yet, Jesus chose us to come out from the world, so the world of sin should hate us.

Instead of being mixed with the world, we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Our very lives, as well as our words, should be influencing the world around us away from lifestyles of sin, and to faith in Jesus Christ – to repentance and obedience to his commands – all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us. But, how can we do this if we are joining in with the world in their sinful ways? We should be going out into the world to make disciples of Christ of all peoples, instead of becoming partners with the world in areas of lust, greed, hypocrisy, lying, cheating, stealing, and sexual promiscuity, etc.

In fact, we are to touch NO unclean thing, which is why I believe this passage is about more than just human-to-human relationships. This means we should not even be entertained by what is sinful, such as by movies and TV shows or music which glorifies the flesh - adultery, sexual promiscuity, lying, cheating, gossip, lust, greed, violence, stealing, and the like. We should give our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is our reasonable service of worship to him. We should no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we should be transformed in the renewing of our minds so “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (See Rom. 12:1-2).

Let Us Purify Ourselves

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

If we purify something, we make it pure by ridding “something of harmful, inferior, or unwanted contaminants.” Something that is pure is “not mixed with any other substance; clean and free from impurities” (Encarta). So, to be spiritually pure is to be free from the contamination (corruption) of sin, as well as it means to not be mixed with this sinful world.

Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, not just so we would escape hell and have the promise of heaven, as wonderful as that is. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (See Tit. 2:11-14). He died to set us free from the control of sin over our lives, and to free us to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness (See Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24 & 1 Jn. 1-5).

Yet, although it is only through Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins that we can be made pure, and we cannot do this in our own flesh, just as he reconciled us to God through his blood, and we must be reconciled to him, we must also put off what is impure and we must put on the purity and holiness of Christ. We must throw off whatever hinders and the sin which so easily entangles so we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us (See Heb. 12:1). We must cut out of our lives whatever leads us into sin.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. ~ Ro. 8:12-13 NIV

ONLY IN HIM / An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30

Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.

Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.

Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.

Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.

Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.

Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.
You know....
The real shame of the church is that instead of being IN the world, but NOT Of it....

We are OUT of the world - under the guise of "Separating ourselves" - but we are WORLDLY.....
Loving and desiring and practicing all the same things OF the world - but being out of it.....

Look inside the church...
Backbiting and gossip are often times far worse and more poisonous than in the world....
Sexual immorality and other immoral living is certainly no less prevalent within Church attendees than outside....